Upset Bait: UCLA ambushes Nebraska, and more love for Week 2 underdogs
The Eye on College Football blog crew scans the weekly odds for a straight-up shocker or two -- for entertainment only, of course.
Both teams are fresh off high-powered offensive performances in the first week, with Nebraska and UCLA combining for 1,278 yards of total offense. The Cornhuskers, thanks to some hard running from Ameer Abdullah and Imani Cross , were able to keep up the ground game against Southern Miss after Rex Burkhead left with an early knee injury. But the usually stout Cornhuskers defense also allowed 185 rushing yards, and UCLA has the lethal two-headed attack of quarterback Brett Hundley and senior running back Jonathan Franklin.
Franklin, fresh off a 214-yard performance on the ground against
, will be critical to keeping the Bruins offense on the field. In a game with two potent offenses, ball control could be the key, and if Burkhead can't go, Nebraska is missing its best weapon.
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Last week: Hit on Nevada Wolf Pack (+11) over California Golden Bears . Season: 1-for-1.
Illinois Fighting Illini
Arizona State Sun Devils
Arizona State is a slight favorite over Illinois primarily because Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase 's status is unknown after suffering an ankle injury in Week 1. This is the Sun Devils' first real test after an opening-night romp over Northern Arizona, and I think the Illini's defense can shut them down while getting just enough from the offense to take home a win from the desert.
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Last week: Hit on Ohio Bobcats (+9) over Penn State Nittany Lions . Season: 1-for-1.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
You may think I'm going to give you some technical reason involving a scheme or something actually related to football to explain why I think Arizona is going to knock off Oklahoma State on Saturday night. Well, I'm not. This is just the ol' gut sending out the signals. After all, this is an Oklahoma State team that is still replacing players like Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon on offense, and last week's blowout win over Savannah State was just a glorified scrimmage. It didn't actually prove anything.
So the Cowboys' first actual game of the season is coming on the road against an Arizona team that was tested last week but emerged victorious. The
racked up 624 yards of offense against
, and I don't see why they can't do something similar against this Oklahoma State defense.
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Last week: Missed on Boston College Eagles (+2.5) over Miami. Season: 0-for-1.
Temple favored by 10 at home doesn't really jump off the page as an unusual line, does it? The Owls have been a perfectly respectable lower-tier bowl program the last few seasons under Al Golden and now Steve Addazio, while under Randy Edsall the Terps have become the college football equivalent of however this Calvin and Hobbes strip ends. That goes double considering the shocking 38-7 beatdown Temple handed the Terps in College Park last season. But think about it: since when are de facto MAC teams (Temple only moved up to the Big East this season) favored by double-digits over ACC-level competition, anywhere? Since when is the cavernous, lifeless Lincoln Financial Field been much of a help for Temple? Since when does Maryland not have, at the very least, a dramatic top-to-bottom advantage in available roster talent – especially after Temple said goodbye to all but eight of its 2011 starters?
Yes, yes, the Terps only narrowly avoided defeat against William and Mary last Saturday in one of Week 1's ugliest games. But they won't turn the ball over four times again, and a defense that returns its entire front seven should be able to keep Temple in check. Spread, schmead – the pick here is that not only do the Terps cover, they win outright.
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Last week: Missed on Vanderbilt Commodores (+6.5) over South Carolina Gamecocks . Season: 0-for-1.
Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes
Kansas State Wildcats
I've spent the offseason telling anyone who will listen that Kansas State is dramatically overrated based on last year's run of luck – yes, I'm just going to call it luck – in close games: The Wildcats were 8-1 in 2011 in games decided by a touchdown or less, and were outgained in terms of total offense in eight of those nine, a combination that screams "regression to the mean!" in 2012. That's simply not a sustainable model for winning without real improvement on a down-to-down, blocking-and-tackling level.
Saturday is the first chance to put my (metaphorical) money where my mouth is in the corner of a team K-State narrowly edged last year in dramatic fashion. And though I'm no believer in Miami amid its ongoing NCAA-related malaise, after freshman tailback
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Last week: Missed on Western Michigan (+10) over Illinois. Season: 0-for-1.
Oregon State Beavers
Last week, Wisconsin struggled to put away Northern Iowa at home, only wrapping up a 26-21 win in the final minutes. If Northern Iowa can threaten the Badgers in Madison, how will they fare after making the long trip to the West Coast to play Oregon State Beavers ? Oregon State under Mike Riley has a penchant for upsets, or at least playing elite teams close. If the Beavers can hold up against the Badgers ground attack, they can pull it off.
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Last week: Missed on Michigan (+11) over Alabama Crimson Tide . Season: 0-for-1.
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